All in the name of terrorism

You’ve got to see the two pieces over at Andrew Sullivan, one a letter and one a post, on how idiotic our terrorism-inspired travel restrictions are, both for visitors and for good God-fearing Americans. A travesty. An idiocy. Sullivan is appropriately outraged. Me, too.

The Discussion: 6 Comments

the homeland security octupus reaches out even further than the US.

i was flying from hong kong to vancouver to new york city. between hong kong and vancouver, a 12-hour flight, a group of tourists were warned by the pilot over the PA system: “Because the final destination of this flight in the US, US security regulations must be observed. No hanging out around the bathroom, kitchen or the aisle!”

July 8, 2004 @ 9:43 pm | Comment

I suppose this is as good a place as any to relate my own anecdote.

I recently left the US (don’t plan to be back for several years, if ever).

My wife’s good-bye present from the American government at the airport was they took a screwdriver and jimmied open her suitcase, messed up her lingerie, then taped the suitcase together (the tape was covered with an American flag/Eagle design with the TSA logo) with a note saying “sorry, we had to do this for national security, and we’re not responsible for damages.”

The thugs standing at the security counter weren’t busy, they could have asked us to open the cases, there were no signs announcing that they were going to go through your luggage, they just took the only suitcase that happened to be locked and destroyed it.

July 8, 2004 @ 11:21 pm | Comment

Or, Boo, you could have read the fine print with your ticket that notes that all suitcases should be kept unlocked and that the TSA had the right to open the suitcases if they were locked.

Live and learn.

July 9, 2004 @ 12:54 am | Comment

Jeremy, I’m looking at my receipts now and I don’t see anything about locks (it was an electronic ticket).

I’ve had my luggage looked at in London, Hong Kong and Japan, and they’ve either posted signs and/or done it in front of me. Considering all the useless things they do at the counter, they could’ve warned us there too. If you’re asking people to keep luggage unlocked (ie breaking natural habits formed over many decades), you don’t stick it in the fine print.

This time I was standing 10 feet away, in an empty terminal, when the guy whipped out his screwdriver and wrecked the case before I realized what he was doing. He could have asked us to unlock the thing but chose not to.

July 9, 2004 @ 3:39 am | Comment

Jeremy, there’s the law and its ‘standard procedures’, and then there’s common sense and humanity. Those two pairs represent entirely different things. The one and only time China’s customs officers wanted to look at my luggage, they did so quickly, efficiently and did not break anything.

July 9, 2004 @ 6:01 am | Comment

There was also a news special about luggage searches by the TSA this summer showing how the officers frequently steal from the suitcases they inspect. This was caught on videotape at the three worst airports for luggage theft, JFK, Newark and one in either DC or Detroit (I forget). On my coming home in March, I stopped over in NYC and when I flew from JFK to Arizona some of my dearest items from China were stolen from my suitcase. It was a wonderful welcome home, and a great reminder of how things have changed since 9/11 — in the name of terrorism we must put up with every sort of outrage and stupidity imaginable.

July 9, 2004 @ 9:14 am | Comment

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